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Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a cognitive-behavioural treatment developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan at the University of Washington. The theory behind the approach is that some people are prone to react in a more intense and out-of-the-ordinary manner toward certain emotional situations, primarily those found in romantic, family and friend relationships. DBT theory suggests that some people’s arousal levels in such situations can increase far more quickly than the average person’s, attain a higher level of emotional stimulation, and take a significant amount of time to return to baseline arousal levels. DBT skills in the areas of managing your attention (mindfulness skills), managing and coping with your emotions (emotion regulation skills), dealing effectively with interpersonal situations (interpersonal effectiveness skills), and tolerating emotional distress (distress tolerance skills). Several research studies over the past 15 years have demonstrated that DBT is effective in helping people learn to manage their emotions effectively, reduce anger, stop suicidal behaviour and self-injury, and overcome problems with drug use and eating disorders. DBT also is the only well-established psychological treatment for problems related to BPD. DBT has also shown good effects in the treatment of adolescent suicidality, substance abuse,binge eating disorder, domestic violence, and depression among older adults.
DBT is especially effective for people with the following problems:
•Borderline Personality Disorder •Suicidal thinking or behaviour (e.g., suicide attempts) •Self-injury and other self-destructive behaviours •Difficulties with anger and anger management •Problems with other emotions (such as intense sadness or recurrent fear) •Impulsive behaviours that can be dangerous (such as reckless driving, recurrent unsafe sex, etc.) •Difficulty building and maintaining healthy relationships •Chronic feelings of emptiness •Depression among older adults •Problems with alcohol & drug use •Eating disordered behaviour, such as bingeing and purging
What is DBT?
Characteristics of DBT
•Support-oriented: It helps a person identify their strengths and builds on them so that the person can feel better about him/herself and their life. •Cognitive-based: DBT helps identify thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions that make life harder: “I have to be perfect at everything.” “If I get angry, I’m a terrible person” & helps people to learn different ways of thinking that will make life more bearable: “I don’t need to be perfect at things for people to care about me”, “Everyone gets angry, it’s a normal emotion. •Collaborative: It requires constant attention to relationships between clients and staff. In DBT people are encouraged to work out problems in their relationships with their therapist and the therapists to do the same with them. DBT asks people to complete homework assignments, to role-play new ways of interacting with others, and to practice skills such as soothing yourself when upset. These skills, a crucial part of DBT, are taught in weekly lectures, reviewed in weekly homework groups, and referred to in nearly every group. The individual therapist helps the person to learn, apply and master the DBT skills.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapists
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